So Glad I Stayed…
WIC clinics are an amazing opportunity for mothers and young children throughout Iowa to receive nutrition assistance, health advice as well as vouchers to purchase specific foods to alleviate hunger. This is a wonderful program that can set families on a healthier life path. WIC clinics are one of the best places to help mothers and families sign up for the Food Assistance they need.
On one of my recent visits to a WIC clinic I was chatting away just waiting for the last client appointment to show. The day had been long with a higher than average number of no-show clients, which for me means fewer potential applicants. So the WIC staff and I compared outreach notes and developed new ways to help the families and individuals we serve. While we kept busy, the day moved slowly as the limited number of clients meant that our ultimate service goals went unfulfilled.
By the end of the day, we were all looking forward to calling it quits and starting anew the next day. We all started packing up our things and getting ready to leave when in walked *Lisa, a new mother, who was new to the WIC program and had not scheduled an appointment. The receptionist put a smile on introducing her to the program and sent her to the dietician. At this point I had to weigh my options — wait around for the half hour appointment to end on the chance that she needs my help, or save my time for another clinic and call it a day?
I made the decision in a split second and sat back down. If Lisa needed WIC services maybe she needed Food Assistance as well. I waited for her to finish up with WIC and then I sat down with Lisa to see if she needed my help. It turns out that Lisa had lost her job in February and found out that she was pregnant in the middle of March. By the time she had got up the nerve to visit a WIC clinic she was in desperate need of financial assistance but didn’t really know where to start. I had Lisa signed up for Food Assistance in less than fifteen minutes. But the application was only the beginning of our encounter. Lisa went on to tell me that she had no food left at home and so I recommended a few local food banks and pantries that she could visit to alleviate her need immediately.
Lisa’s search for help ended with me that day and my day ended on a high note. The fight to end hunger isn’t always glorious or fast-paced. Clients don’t always know where to start in their search for food. But that little extra effort made at the end of a long day puts us all one step closer to ending hunger in Iowa.